Humans of Pandemics Stories

Daniel's Story

I am a graduate student at Harvard University, Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Extension School. I am so proud to be a part of Students Vs Pandemics at Harvard University. Students Vs Pandemics is an interdisciplinary group of Harvard graduate and undergrad students building community and empowering students to make a positive impact on health and overall wellness during times of crisis. I am contributing as lead for the Policy Committee at Students Vs Pandemics.


I served in the Navy and the Marines as a combat medic for ten years. During my time in the military, we were trained to deal with uncertainty. We trained every day for war, doing medical drills, combat drills, and going to the shooting range. At that time, I remember having to wake up at five am in the morning every day. I was twenty-one years old and wanted to stay up late and felt terrible waking up so early. Then I was told I was going to be deployed with my Battalion of Marines to the Iraq war. I quickly realized how valuable my routine and training was: it helped us adjust easier to the high tempo of war. Upon arriving in war, there was plenty of chaos, shooting, and explosions that would keep you up at night, all while getting only a couple hours of sleep per night. In the middle of all this uncertainty, there was some order, our military training kicked in, and our routine is what kept us alive and motivated. Having a routine can save your mind and make you phenomenally successful. Yes, even in the middle of a war, there are some routines, such as playing poker with your fellow Marines. Every night or afternoon, I would do 100 push-ups. Every day, I would also read the Harry Potter books that I have brought with me.

How do you maintain hope when you are despairing in a pandemic? In the same way, we did in war! You stick to a routine amidst uncertainty. It is critical to stay motivated and excited about what you will do once all of this is over. While sometimes life can be bittersweet and blue, you must look at our current pandemic, as a unique opportunity. An opportunity to take advantage to explore some ideas and projects you have bee delaying for a long time. Maybe you can finally begin writing those first pages telling the tale of a sorceress, hobbit, or space adventures. Perhaps, you can start training every day and doing push-ups, sit-ups, or train for a marathon like I am preparing now for the Marine Corps Marathon. Remember, this is your life, and dreams can come true if you utilize the free time you have now to work on those dreams!


Humans of Pandemics Gallery of Art

About Humans of Pandemics


We are the Humans of Pandemics Committee, one of the committees within

Students vs Pandemics.

Mission Statement

Share the stories of everyone affected by the pandemic to bring together the global community and help one another in coping during this crisis

Our Goals

  • To highlight impactful stories that represent the diversity of human experiences during the pandemic 

  • To create a platform to empower all individuals, communities, and organizations to share their experiences

  • To foster hope and mental wellbeing through the sharing of stories

  • To strengthen emotional connections among the global community

  • To identify gaps in access to resources that exist in the community

  • Identify missed opportunities of services from stories of how people have managed through the pandemics

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Contact Students vs. Pandemics

Want to build a chapter of Students vs. Pandemics at your university? Have a question about our work? Excited to help? Let us know in our form, by clicking below! For more specific volunteer opportunities see our "Volunteer" page.